July 29, 2007


GoTo considered harmful.

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Too Bad, So Sad

It seems that there are people in California who don't understand the English language well enough to understand what they are getting into when they sign telecommunications contracts. It is alleged that people are being defrauded by cell phone vendors, but if so the proper response is to track down and prosecute that fraud. The same aggressive investigation should also be applied to the possibility that people are deliberately running up large phone bills and then claiming supposed non-comprehension to avoid payment. My wee wifey's immigrant grandmother hid behind feigned non-comprehension for decades. As for the people who innocently chose the wrong plan, that is just the consequence of their failure to adapt and they need to pay the cost of that failure.

English is the language of law in the United States, but since I am not a lawyer I certain whether contracts in the 200 languages spoken in California can be legally binding. If they are, then the new regulation proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission is going to open up a can of worms which will make doing any kind of business in the state even less attractive. Legal documents cannot be translated by the same people who translate the manuals for DVD players.

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July 28, 2007

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Timothy Leary's response to the premise of this week's Recipe Carnival was that it wasn't polite to "just say no" and thus one should always remember to say "no thank you". When gluten sensitivity became an issue in our household, I took no interest in the concerted scientific effort to develop an amaranth - potato flour cake with a texture more appetizing than the crust of an undercooked frozen pizza. I instead reminisced about the super intense flourless chocolate cake our son had baked for competition a couple of years earlier from a recipe going around at the time. The following is my wee wifey's take on that recipe, which she is still inclined to bake for the one foster-nephew's birthday, long after interest in regulating his gluten intake has, rightly or wrongly, been abandoned.

16 oz. Belgian dark chocolate or good semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups cane sugar [or 1 cup light brown sugar and 1/2 cup white cane sugar]
3/4 cup boiling water or very hot coffee
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 large free-range organic eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon good vanilla extract [yes, a tablespoon!]

1 cup unsalted butter -- softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar -- sifted
1 cup cocoa powder -- sifted
1/3 cup water or coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment, and buttering it.

Break up the dark chocolate into pieces and pour the chocolate into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the chocolate breaks up into small bits. Add the sugar. Pulse until the chocolate and sugar turns into an even, sandy grain.

Pour the hot water or coffee slowly into the feed tube as you pulse again. Pulse until the chocolate is melted. Magic!

Add butter pieces and the cocoa powder, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, and process till smooth. The batter will be liquid and creamy.

Pour the batter into the lined springform pan. Wrap the outside of the whole pan with a big piece of foil. Bake at 350 degrees in the center of the oven, till puffed and cracked and lovely - about 55 minutes to an hour or even more. Use a wooden toothpick to check the center of the cake.

Place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool. The cake will deflate. Don't worry! When cooled a bit, press down on it gently with a spatula to make it even, if you wish. Or not.

When the cake is completely cooled, cover, and chill it for three hours [up to eight hours] until serving. Release the cake from the springform pan. Slice and serve.

Serve slices with drizzled chocolate sauce or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Add a few berries or mint leaves to the plate, if you like.

Makes 12 - 15 slices. It is rich!

For the buttercream, cream the butter until smooth. Sift the sugar and
cocoa powder over the butter, add 1/3 cup water, and slowly mix
until smooth.

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July 18, 2007

Quote For The Day

Caturday was a bunch of drunk college kids. Lolcats is dumpy office secretaries in their late 30's.
The secret of humor is timing. This showed up in a comment thread to a post by Professor Althouse just as drunk college kids showed up as lolcats.

I expect the bubble to burst when everyone discovered that the whole "I can has" thing originated in an error.

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The Tightening Noose

If Oleg Volk were Yakov Smirnoff, he would be telling us "In Russia the iodine can't buy you." Having lived without freedom, Oleg sees nothing funny about the absence of it or the incremental loss of it.

The really scary aspect of the crackdown on iodine is that it is legislation without representation. The public had no input; our soi-desant representatives had no input beyond having created the agency and authorized the war in which this reduction of freedom is an action. This isn't part of the War on Terror, an offshoot of the dreaded Patriot Act. The same reactivity which makes iodine a component of crude explosives also makes it useful to certain chemists who are already smuggling another chemical into the country so as to make the new inconvenience in buying cold medicine meaningless. You may think all illegal drugs are invariably destructive as the one these chemists are making. You may not be troubled by the creeping loss of accesses once taken for granted. You may even believe that the War on Drugs is a good thing. Just you wait until they decide to label medicinal shrooms an epidemic, and you have to start justifying your purchase of brown rice flour.

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July 17, 2007

The Exception

One of the surest signs someone hasn't learned to sling the lingo of teh intrawebz is if they refer to any single post as being in and of itself a blog. Fuzz has found a way around this, and has in fact posted an individual web log.

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July 05, 2007

Where To?

Checking my Hotmail, I see at the bottom of the page a link box "More from MSN" containing the headline "Gossip:Kate and Pete - off again?" Is there some reason I should know who these people are?

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If You Can't Beat'em. Referend'em

The state legislature of Wisconsin has twice passed a Personal Protection Act which provided licensed recognition of the right of Wisconsinites to bear arms. Both times the governor vetoed it, and both times the veto was sustained because of the clout which campaign money from the teacher's union and the gambling interests gives the governor. As long as Doyle remains in office concealed carry will not get thru the legislature. The Wisconsin constitution provides another means by which laws can be enacted, popular referendum. I am therefore hereby calling for a referendum to make the Person Protection Act, as passed by the legislature, active law in Wisconsin.

My wee wifey and I hold the belief that it is incumbant upon the person who has an idea to carry it out. Unfortunately, I have neither the political savvy nor the right sort of visibility to run this campaign. Since I cannot put the bell onto the cat, I will provide the string with which to hang it. I have created a Wiscon Personal Protection blog, and will provide access to it for whoever steps forward to run this campaign.


It has been brought to my attention by two people with the political savvy I said was needed that the statewide referendum in Wisconsin is far mor limited than I understood it to be. I'm open to suggestions as to what can be done with the blogspace and the support it has engendered.

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July 04, 2007

Not All Fell For It

Les Jones, who is on the list for my next blog roll update, has been keeping track of which rock stars haven't insufflated enough of the Kool-Aid to think flying around the world to do Live Earth concerts would be a benefit to the planet.

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July 03, 2007

A1 Humor

Via Uncle, a gunnie funnie.

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July 02, 2007

Quote For The Day

Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything.
An example of Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam offered in The Book Of The Fallacy - A training manual for the intellectual subversive by Madsen Pirie.

A review of two recent science fiction books by Madsen Pirie was posted at Samizdata, and I went to the Milwaukee Library's online catalog in hopes of requesting them. The one book which turned up is one which everyone in the blogosphere ought to read, especially the strawmen.

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